I’ve always been an in-the-moment kind of person.
You never know what tomorrow holds, and things change all of the time.
The only thing you can control is what you’re doing in that very moment.
That’s always been my approach to football, along with everything else in life.
It’s who I am.
When I first picked up a football, it was just this fun thing I was doing with friends. The physicality and competitiveness of it — yeah, all of that was cool, too.
I loved both of those things about the sport.
But it was really that bond with my friends that drew me in. I didn’t think about tomorrow, college, the big league, or anything else at the time.
It was just me, my friends, and football.
It’s crazy because I feel like now I’m the only one out of all my friends that’s still playing.
In a way, it feels like I’m doing this for them, too, you know what I mean?
I’m also doing it for my family — most importantly, my two-year-old daughter, Kaislee.
She’s my joy.
She keeps me going every day, and she’s the reason why I go out there and grind to be the best version of myself.
I live in the moment and focus on the present so that I can provide a better future for her.
A life-changing opportunity
It’s amazing how one life being brought into this world can change everything.
I’ll be honest, as mentioned earlier, I wasn’t even thinking about playing college football.
I was so focused on what I was doing in high school that it never even hit me.
Even after all of the college offers, I was still stuck in the right here and now.
I didn’t start thinking about college until I actually got to campus.
I’ll never forget that moment because that’s when everything finally hit me.
When that door shut and I saw my family leaving, that’s when it all became real.
It was surprising because I didn’t know what to expect being away from my family and actually on my own.
Plus, I had a baby on the way at the time.
You look around the room, and all of a sudden, it’s just you standing there.
I don’t know, man.
That moment right there just really put a lot of things into perspective.
I knew it was a potentially life-changing opportunity, and I had to take it upon myself to make the most of it.
Finding a new purpose
It helped that Memphis was like a second home to me. I already had a bunch of family that lived here, and I was only going to be like a two-hour drive away from my daughter.
Obviously, I didn’t know what to expect from the football side of things in terms of the workouts, the different team, and just the overall flow of things.
But none of that mattered because I was playing with a new purpose, and it only grew once Kaislee was born.
That’s when things really started to change.
It stopped being about me and my needs at that point.
I had to start thinking about her and what my future could create for her.
That mindset overall has made me a better person.
Everything just changed because there was someone else’s needs being put above my own.
I love being a father, and honestly, it’s incredibly fulfilling.
I know I’ve got to work harder to get to where I need to be and make sure she’s straight.
She’s my mini-me.
She comes to my games, and even when she doesn’t make the game, she’ll be watching me on TV.
When I score, and they show me on the TV screen, she’ll go up to the screen and point out my face and number.
Moments like that, even if I don’t get to see them, make all of this worth it.
The smile that keeps me going
Not only is it worth it, but I’m just thankful that it’s even possible.
It’s easier to juggle being a father, going to school, and playing football when I have such a great support system.
I mean, Kaislee is around me a lot, and everybody knows who she is.
I swear, sometimes it feels like my teammates love her more than me.
Every time she walks in, they ignore me and go straight to her.
And it’s awesome, man.
That reminds me — one of my most memorable moments is when I brought her to one of my practices.
We were working out indoors, and I just remember looking up in the window and seeing her pointing directly at me with this big smile on her face.
It didn’t matter where I was on the football field. She’d always point me out and find me.
That’s something I always think about regardless of whether I’m in class, studying for a test, preparing for a big game, or competing on the field against the best players in the country.
Yes, I am a person that loves to live in the moment, but I’m also willing to look beyond that a bit when it comes to my daughter.
All of the sacrifices I’m making right now are for her future.
So I plan on giving everything I have to my teammates and coaches while I’m here.
We’re focused on winning football games.
But yes, in the future, I’m definitely hoping to make it to the NFL someday, too, like every player.
It would make life a lot better for me and my daughter.
That’s the one thing that drives me every single day. Just seeing that smiling face pointing me out through that window.
I’ll do everything I can to make sure she never stops smiling and will always be proud of her daddy.